Business Creates a Stronger Future through Education

March 18, 2015

You have heard the statistics and know the challenges.  

  • Globally, U.S. students rank 17th in literacy, 21st in science, and 26th in math.  
  • Only 6% of American students perform at the advanced level in literacy.  
  • Fewer than half of students who enter postsecondary programs graduate in six years.
  • There are approximately 4 million jobs unfilled due in part to an underprepared workforce.  
  • The unemployment rate for youth aged 20 – 24 sits at 10%.

To meet the demands of a rapidly advancing 21st century global economy, we need a robust supply of skilled and educated workers. At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center (CCC), our goal is to showcase how businesses are taking a leadership role in addressing the challenges faced by our education system today. Additionally, the U.S. Chamber Foundation Center for Education and Workforce works to strengthen America’s long-term competitiveness through informing and mobilizing the business community to be engaged partners, challenging the status quo, and  connecting education and workforce reform to economic development.

American companies are already contributing $2.5 billion annually to public K–12 education. But beyond dollars, companies and their employees are also utilizing their expertise, time, and relationships to make a difference in students’ lives. Our newly released report, Co-Designing the Future: The Role of the Private Sector Partnering in Education, showcases how businesses are achieving real results to better educate students.

The report’s chapters show a myriad of ways businesses get involved including:

  • STEM Education
  • Workforce Readiness
  • Teacher Training and Development
  • Access to Technology and Resources
  • Mentoring
  • Access to Education
  • Career Exploration

If you are a business looking for innovative ways for your company to get involved in education, this report is a great place to start. In our STEM Education chapter, we highlight solutions including the Dow Chemical Company’s role in a community collaboration to generate student enthusiasm for STEM, and IBM’s P-TECH schools where students graduate with a no-cost associate’s degree in applied science, engineering, computers, etc. Filling the skills gap requires more attention be paid to STEM education, and the companies in this chapter are leading the way.

Other creative initiatives in the report include FedEx’s work with Junior Achievement to empower the next generation of global talent, PNC’s efforts on teacher professional development for early childhood educators, and Qualcomm advancing mobile learning through access to technology. Companies also utilize their expertise to drive change, like Booz Allen Hamilton linking girls with corporate mentors to develop leadership and career skills, or Apollo developing an online career exploration and development resource.
America’s businesses have a long history of investing in education, and today, it has become a strategic priority for many.

This case study report has great examples of how companies are advancing this strategic priority to better equip students with the skills they need to succeed, and ultimately, to make the world a better place.

Access the report.

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in Co-Designing the Future: The Role of the Private Sector Partnering in Education]